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As parents, I think we are often under the impression that as long as we have the best intentions, we are not going to harm our kids. And while that is a nice thought, it’s not reality.

Think about it: a person might have the best intentions in the world, but if they are not self-aware enough, they are likely to end up causing some real damage. This isn’t to say that if you are doing the best you can, you should pick yourself apart with a fine tooth comb. However, it is to say that it’s always worthwhile to check yourself, especially when you want to make sure you do the best job possible as a parent.

I like to think of it like this: I was raised by two imperfect people who made a lot of mistakes, because of the habits they learned from their parents. Were my parents the worst people in the world? No. Could they have done a better job and harmed me less, YES. It’s always good to reevaluate what we learn through the generations and approach our parenting style with a refreshed and open-minded perspective. As long as we continue to do this on a collective level, we could improve the generations of children we are raising and make them better people for a better world. At the very least, we can harm our kids less than our parents harmed us.

1. Never apologizing.

A lot of us grew up in environments where our parents were always right, and we were always wrong because they were our parents, and we were their kids. The thing is, this type of parenting behavior doesn’t teach your child anything about life, except that it’s all about power and control. In reality, learning to apologize when you are wrong to your child is a great life lesson that will teach them to also take responsibility and accountability for their actions moving forward.

2. Comparing your child to other kids.

It might be tempting to try to get your child to act better by pointing out how well little Sally is acting. However, when you do this, you aren’t teaching your child to act better, you are telling them that they aren’t enough or aren’t good enough for you. In turn, you are destroying their self-esteem.

3. Lying to your kids.

Everyone tells little white lies, but it’s a major issue when you are always lying to your kids. After a while, they will no longer take you seriously or even trust you. And at the very least, they are going to be confused about the world, because kids come into the world thinking that we as their parents are the bastions of goodness. Don’t destroy that for them.

4. Not setting boundaries.

Kids learn boundaries through us. Not only should you set boundaries, so they don’t run you over, but you should also set boundaries to keep kid stuff and adult stuff separate. Don’t talk to your kids about your adult problems. Don’t let your kids rule over you. Find a healthy medium. It will benefit them when all is said and done.

5. Trying to be their friend and not their parent.

Yes, you can be both, but you should always be their parent first. If you are just their friend and there are no rules, no limits, and no authority, they are going to have a very difficult time adjusting to the real world where there are rules, limits, and authority.

6. Invalidating their emotions.

When your child comes to you screaming and crying, you may feel tempted to say, “It’s okay. Stop crying.” However, when you do this, you are invalidating their emotions, which are real. Instead of telling them to stop feeling, help them manage their emotion.

7. Helicopter parenting.

There is a new wave of helicopter moms, who stand over their children, watching and micromanaging their every move. However, these parents are raising children who are anxious, dependent, indecisive, and unprepared for the real world, according to VARIOUS studies. Please don’t be this mom, if you want your child to thrive.

8. Forcing them to finish every bite on their plate.

There again, a lot of us grew up being told, “If you don’t eat every bite of food on your plate, you will have to finish it later,” or “if you don’t eat every bite on your plate, you can’t leave the table.” The thing is, when you do this, you are telling your child to overrule their hunger and fullness cues, and overeat. This instills poor relationships with food, which in the long run is damaging to your child.

9. Not allowing them to have any responsibility.

It might seem counterproductive to the topic of this article, but I assure you, it is not. Children need some (age-appropriate) responsibility to prepare them for each stage of life, and eventually, to help them adapt to the real world, where you won’t be able to do every little thing for them.